Sometime during this past week, we got an advertisement in the mail or with our newspaper or something. It was for This Is The Place Heritage Park. The park is designed to show visitors what it would be like to take a step back into the Utah frontier. They have historic houses, blacksmiths, petting zoos, and activities for kids to enjoy. Apparently it would typically cost me close to $40 to take my entire family there. That, coupled with the fact that we don't generally talk much about Utah history with our kids, has kept me away.
But, the advertisement explained that today the park would be free admission and free ice cream. Double bonus! For free, I figured I could just steer my emerging reader away from any of the signs that mentioned Samuel such in such living in this historic house with his two wives and their eleven children. It's just that I don't really want to explain polygamy to my six-year-old, is all. In any case, This Is The Place is said to be the exact place that Brigham Young declared, "We'll stay here forever in this valley." (Or whatever it is he actually said.) Personally, if I'd just climbed over the Wasatch range, only to find another mountain range off in the distance, I'd have declared this the place as well. But then I'd have spent one freezing winter here and decided that, surely, weather was warmer just over those Oquirrhs. And, by golly, I'd have been right.
I decided that what with all the FREE! I should probably take my kids up there today and see what it was all about. I called my friend and asked if she wanted to join us with her two sons who happen to my sons' bestest friends in the whole wide world of ever. I was super thrilled because I said, "We can pick you up." For the first time in this whole having kids experience, I could pick up another mom and her two kids and fit everyone in my vehicle. Vanna White is working out quite well for us, it would seem.
So we went.
And Matthew and his best buddy learned how to wash clothes.
And all the boys plowed a field, tried walking on stilts, worked with wool, watched a blacksmith work, saw a man making jerky, sat in a teepee, walked through historic houses and rode the ponies.
I'm fairly certain that my boys ended up on horses named Chip and Dale.
My friend and I wondered how, exactly, those pioneer women managed to make their own clothes, feed their families, work their land, and have nine children. There just isn't enough time in the day. Then again, they didn't have Facebook. They also didn't feel the need to maintain a blog.
We toured a school house and Garrett practiced using his very own slate. He made sure to behave so that he didn't have to wear the dunce cap in the front of the school. I learned that there is, in fact, a language of Deseret. Five and a half years and I never knew that.
And I managed to steer my kid away from all the mention of plural wives. Which is always the indicator of a good day.